Hotel check: Winchester Mansions

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BACKGROUND

They like to call themselves “Cape Town’s great small luxury hotel”. But, for many years it struggled to shake off the reputation that it catered for an older, more international crowd, with its Cape Dutch architecture often leaving guests feeling that the space was a bit ‘imperial’. The owners have sought to change that and Winchester Mansions recently underwent a two-phase renovation project. That included revamps to the grand Harvey Suite and upgrades to all its public areas, amenities and kitchen, whilst work is under way on the refurbishing of its rooms.

WHERE IS IT?

On the Sea Point Promenade, across the road from the Atlantic Ocean, and a short distance from the V&A Waterfront. In close proximity is Cape Town Stadium and the suburb of Green Point, which has a host of popular restaurants in its De Waterkant area. The hotel is approximately 30 minutes’ drive from Cape Town International Airport and about 10 minutes from the CBD. Cape Town’s renowned Clifton and Camps Bay beaches are about 10 minutes away.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

The hotel has an air of sophistication, without appearing stuffy. The classic Cape Dutch architecture belies the stylish and clean lines within the hotel. The rooms are well-appointed (without being cluttered), spacious and very comfortable. Rooms offer either a sea or a mountain view. The centre of the hotel is a feature courtyard, which is an ideal setting for casual dining and meetings.

ROOM FACILITIES

Winchester Mansions has 51 classic or contemporary loft-style rooms and 25 suites, including one Presidential Suite. All rooms have satellite TV, with international channels, telephone, complimentary Wi-Fi, an electronic safe, mini-bar, tea and coffee-making facilities and air-conditioning. I was on business and found the work desk comfortable, with enough plug points for all my gadgets. The bed was large, firm and extremely comfortable, and the linen clean and crisp. The staff left complimentary chocolates when turning down the bed in the evening, which I thought was a nice touch, albeit fairly common at many top class hotels. I was also very impressed with the bathroom, which featured separate bath and shower, modern fittings and beautiful, fluffy towels. Most hotel rooms are somewhat impersonal, but this room had a “homely” feel about it.

OTHER FACILITIES

Winchester Mansions has a guest lounge consisting of couches, coffee tables and a flat-screen TV. Alternatively, there’s a heated pool and sun deck, as well as a business centre with Wi-Fi access, and the option of the in-house secretarial services. There isn’t a gym, but the local Virgin Active gym is a short distance away. The hotel spa offers a full range of treatments.

CONFERENCE FACILITIES

The hotel offers tailor-made conference facilities for up to 100 delegates. There are four elegant conference rooms, each boasting the latest in presentation technology. The multi-purpose facilities are ideal for intimate celebrations, as well as professional launches and events.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS

Harveys is a bistro by day and a restaurant at night. Its culinary style is “South African fare with a European twist”. The courtyard, built in the style of an Italian piazza, is a welcome retreat. With its palm trees and water features, the courtyard provides a romantic setting for a dinner under the stars. I only ate breakfast, which was a fantastic and sumptuous full fare meal, served by friendly and attentive staff.

VERDICT

An excellent option, whether visiting Cape Town on business or leisure. Great service, whilst the accommodation is extremely comfortable. There is limited off-street parking, but that wouldn’t stop me returning for another stay.

 
CONTACT

Address: 221 Beach Road, Sea Point, +27 21 434 2351, winchester.co.za

Lance Rothschild